Mets @ Dodgers July 3, 2015: So Long, Brandon League

Today’s biggest news is actually yesterday’s news, but with the holiday weekend we haven’t had a chance to write about it. Last night Brandon League, rehabbing from shoulder surgery, was designated for assignment. The move is a bit surprising for a few reasons. The first reason: League’s salary. The front office hasn’t shied away from killing sunk costs, which is great, but that doesn’t make it less shocking to me when they actually do it. That part is actually a refreshing change of pace.

Mets
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles, Ca.
RF
Granderson
CF
Pederson
CF
Lagares
2B
Kendrick
3B
Murphy
3B
Turner
LF
Mayberry
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Duda
RF
Puig
2B
Flores
LF
Ethier
C
Plawecki
C
Grandal
SS
Tejada
SS
Rollins
P
Syndergaard (R)
P
Kershaw (L)

The other surprising reason is that League had the potential to be somewhat useful. For most of last season, he was actually pretty good. His control fell apart towards the end of the year, but he still finished the year with a 73 ERA- and a 93 FIP-. League didn’t allow a home run in 63 innings pitched last year, so his xFIP- (111) still left a lot to be desired. He wasn’t going to match the ERA, but there was at least something there to like, especially if he was used as a ROOGY.

League’s 2013 was an unmitigated disaster, of course, but I think that it lingered a bit too long in most people’s minds. Even with the optimistic view, it’s still a bit hard to say that League is better than the seven guys on the roster now. Still, some of the warts have been showing lately and League probably is better than Matt West, Josh Ravin, and Ian Thomas, all of whom just spent significant time in the big leagues.

The real reason for League’s DFA could have been beyond the stats, though. Scattered reports from Oklahoma City indicated that League was having trouble regaining his velocity. Last season he averaged over 94mph with his sinker (at which he was mildly useful), and it was rumored that he was averaging near 90 during rehab. While these are mostly rumors, and there isn’t exactly Pitch FX to verify these things from the farm, it is a plausible reason for him to be cut.

League will almost certainly clear waivers and he could decide to waive free agency and stay with the minor league team, but it would be hard to blame him from moving on from a fan base with an extremely long memory. It wasn’t his fault that Ned Colletti offered him that stupid contract. Happy trails, Brandon.

Meanwhile, there’s actually a game to be played today. The Mets have come to town. Facing Clayton Kershaw is an offense that’s, well, bad. The Dodgers are first in non-pitcher wRC+ at 123. The Mets are 26th at 90 wRC+. The Mets’ non-pitchers are hitting .235/.303/.366 as a group. They’re also in the middle of an incredibly rough stretch. The Mets started the year 13-3 and are now 40-40. They have scored 23 runs in their last 14 games. They just finished a three game series against the Cubs in which they scored one run. That offense… it is bad. Of course, they’ll score five runs off of Kershaw or something because baseball is dumb.

However, what the Mets do have is a lot of promising young pitching. The first example is tonight’s starter Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard debuted in mid-May. Tonight is his tenth major league start. His ERA of 3.59 isn’t impressive, but his 2.74 FIP is. Syndergaard averages over 98 with his fastball and couples it with a great curveball. That should be fun to watch, if nothing else. The Dodger offense has been taking a lot of (mostly undue) flak lately, but this whole series they’re facing some of the best young pitchers in the game. The games which you can actually watch between BBQs, beer, and fireworks, will be exciting.

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim
Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.